Residents say house administration retaliated after 11 code violations had been uncovered

Residents say house administration retaliated after 11 code violations had been uncovered

Residents and the Texas Organizing Challenge (TOP) say administration on the South Level Flats retaliated in opposition to residents with lease violation notices after their efforts led San Antonio Code Enforcement to seek out 11 code violations on the property.

Assistant supervisor Nora Pelegreen mentioned the lease violation notices had been the results of complaints from different residents and a loud protest she mentioned disturbed enterprise operations. After three lease violation notices, the complicated can have the suitable to file official eviction proceedings.

Residents on the South Facet complicated have described deteriorating situations of their complicated — hazardous electrical wiring, cockroaches and rodents, leaky pipes, damaged AC, and uncovered sewer strains. The violations San Antonio Code Enforcement inspectors discovered included floor, plumbing, and electrical hazards.

Code enforcement personnel will return on Nov. 9 to see whether or not or not administration has mounted or demonstrated they’re actively attempting to repair the entire code violations — if not, they’ll cite the complicated. Then, representatives from South Level Flats must seem earlier than a municipal decide, who will resolve whether or not to nice them or lengthen their time to repair the code violations.

Pedro Aguilar, an eight-year resident who has been energetic in organizing together with his neighbors, mentioned tenants tried to train their rights.

“You realize, administration and the homeowners don’t actually care about us proper right here,” Aguilar mentioned. “And so we’re simply attempting to get one thing accomplished as a result of we really feel prefer it’s in our rights.”

Residents labored with TOP to make repeated calls to 311 and spoke at a Improvement Companies Division process drive assembly to carry consideration to the poor situations of their complicated, ensuing within the inspection final Tuesday. The next day, 4 of these residents had been handed lease violation notices for protest actions.

Pelegreen defended the lease violation notices.

“Everyone has the suitable to protest, however not interrupt my enterprise,” she mentioned. “I’m right here working, and so they are available in and interrupt the setting — that was the lease violation.”

Pelegreen mentioned the protest was held outdoors of the leasing workplace and residents banged loudly on the door, disrupting her enterprise. She additionally claimed to have an inventory of seven residents who made complaints about being harassed by the organizers, although she declined to share it.

Orange cones and caution tape mark off a grassy area where there is an exposed sewer line between an apartment laundromat and an apartment building.

Josh Peck


Texas Public Radio

An space between the laundromat and an house constructing the place there was discovered to be an uncovered sewer line by San Antonio Code Enforcement.

When requested about residents’ complaints that upkeep points weren’t being addressed, Pelegreen didn’t provide many particulars.

“We’re engaged on that, that is the one factor I can inform you,” she mentioned. “We’re engaged on resolving all these issues.”

Ashton Condel, a housing justice organizer for TOP’s Bexar County crew who has been working with some South Level Flats residents since September, mentioned the protest Pelegreen talked about didn’t warrant lease violation notices.

“The banging on the door, I imply, I’ve it recorded, and I don’t suppose anyone would actually see that as any form of severe try to threaten or trigger worry in them or something like that,” he mentioned. “The purpose is simply that these tenants are bored with being ignored.”

Condel additionally mentioned that TOP and the residents had already gotten 55 different residents to signal petitions out of the roughly 150 items on the property.

Whereas Condel didn’t share an inventory of all the total names of the residents, he did present an inventory of first names and the final 4 of their telephone numbers as proof. For residents who didn’t hand over numbers, he offered initials.

One of the lease violation notices received by an organizing tenant. The page has two violations of the lease marked, one for disturbing others, and another for disrupting business operations. The details say this: "Tuesday October 18, 2022 you violated your TAA Lease Agreement Paragraph 11 (1): Prohibited Conduct: You, your occupants, will not engage in certain prohibited conduct including the following activities: (C) Disturbing or threatening the right, safety or convenience of others, including us, our agents or our representatives (D) disturbing our business operations."

Ashton Condel


Texas Organizing Challenge

A portion of the lease violation discover acquired by organizing tenants.

“We promise our tenants that their identities might be protected and solely shared inside our group and in some instances, the required Metropolis departments,” Condel mentioned, explaining why he was providing restricted info.

Condel forged doubt on Pelegreen’s declare that a number of residents had complained in regards to the organizing exercise.

“We do door knocking a number of instances every week and never as soon as have we had a dialog the place any person says that they really feel that they’re being harassed,” Condel mentioned. “Normally persons are very engaged with that dialog, very open about explaining what their struggles have been.”

He mentioned there have been some residents who advised organizers they weren’t considering taking part. He added that his crew by no means knocked on the doorways or left flyers at these items once more to keep away from alienating them.

“We positively respect these needs and don’t return to them,” Condel mentioned.

Condel famous that administration has by no means talked about the seven residents who they declare have complained, and mentioned he believed the declare was unfaithful.

The inspection and lease violation notices had been the most recent chapter in an effort residents took to enhance situations on the South Facet complicated.

Condel mentioned TOP was referred to as in by a tenant to help residents manage in September. Since then, he and different TOP members have assisted with door knocking across the complicated, holding weekly conferences, and fascinating in coordinated actions, such because the protest Pelegreen mentioned compelled her to ship out lease violation notices.

“We’re mainly a facilitator,” Condel mentioned. “We do our greatest to attempt to ensure that it’s the tenants themselves which might be main this and doing that organizing, as a result of we imagine that that’s actually … the speculation of change.”

Tenants and TOP additionally issued a requirement letter on Oct. 7 to South Level’s administration to repair well being and questions of safety across the property.

The demand letter, which was additionally despatched to the District 3 Councilwoman Phyllis Viagran, outlined the main considerations residents had with the complicated. It additionally listed 15 calls for for administration, together with fixing all reported upkeep issues inside 96 hours, putting in further exterior lighting, providing year-long leases to all residents on month-to-month leases, and establishing month-to-month conferences between tenants and house possession.

Although the letter had an Oct. 11 deadline to reply, Condel mentioned residents didn’t obtain a response till Oct. 20, nevertheless it was solely to ask one resident what particular upkeep points she was experiencing in her personal house. It didn’t tackle any of the calls for.

Pedro Aguilar with a Texas Organizing Project shirt and Houston Astros cap standing in his bathroom.

Josh Peck


Texas Public Radio

Pedro Aguilar, one of many residents who has been organizing with TOP since September.

Aguilar mentioned administration routinely ignored upkeep points and had been disrespectful to residents.

“The AC’s are the originals and so they don’t wish to repair ‘em,” he mentioned. “After which one other factor is, just like the supervisor, while you go and speak to them they speak to you very disrespectful. And I’ve labored all my life, and I don’t suppose that I ought to be talked [to] like that.”

Aguilar mentioned he’s taken it upon himself to repair sure issues in his house, such because the door body after he had a break-in, as a result of administration wouldn’t.

“They got here and kicked the door in,” he mentioned. “I mounted it myself each instances. I needed to repair it as a result of this was accomplished on the weekend, [and] if you happen to name them on the weekend, you don’t get no person. … This has been like that for greater than three months, and so they haven’t even come to attempt to repair it.”

He additionally needed to repair one in every of his cupboards the place the wooden is rotting in order that it wouldn’t crumble, and he pointed to darkish spots on his ceiling that he thought was mildew.

He mentioned when administration does repair points, it’s solely ever a patchwork repair.

“And at any time when they do have to repair one thing, it’s as a result of it’s to the purpose to the place they need to do one thing about it, [and] as an alternative of fixing it the suitable approach, they go a budget approach and put a Band-Assist on it,” Aguilar mentioned.

He mentioned extra individuals in San Antonio wanted to concentrate to the situations confronted by his neighbors and residents of different house complexes with poor situations.

“Individuals actually need to appreciate that there’s stuff happening out right here,” he mentioned. “That persons are getting handled wrongly out right here, and never getting handled justly. … That is occurring throughout San Antonio.”

TOP has additionally organized residents on the Seven Oaks Flats on the Northwest facet. In August, Seven Oaks residents, members of TOP, and District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval protested in entrance of the Seven Oaks’ homeowners’ headquarters.

Aguilar believed the tenants can solely change their dwelling situations in the event that they manage.

“And we have been attempting to arrange the tenants collectively as a union so we will combat in opposition to this, as a result of the extra of us which might be collectively, the higher it will be for us,” he mentioned.